Police: Local pastor tried to pay for sex with teen girl

SEATTLE -- One of the pastors at Everett's First Baptist Church was arrested Tuesday night after going to meet a teenage girl he thought would have sex with him, authorities said.

Instead, he was arrested by Seattle police in an operation that included members of the vice unit.

The pastor is suspected of expecting to pay for sex with who he thought was a teenage girl, police said. The planned meeting place was a short drive from Northgate Mall.

The pastor was booked into King County Jail shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday for investigation of commercial sex abuse of a minor. In a Wednesday afternoon bail hearing, the prosecutor wanted bail set at $75,000, but a judge ordered the pastor held on $50,000 bail. Jail records show he posted bond shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday.

A Seattle Police detective posed as the teenage girl on the Internet, and the pastor responded to the online advertisement, according to sources familiar with the case.

Seattlepi.com is not naming the man because he has not been charged. A charging decision is expected by Friday.

The church voicemail was full, according to a recording, and could not accept messages. Seattlepi.com tried to contact the pastor by email after his release Wednesday night, but did not immediately get a response.

A 16-year-old is legally capable of consenting to having sexual contact under Washington State law, with some exceptions. But it's illegal to pay for sex at any age.